The Jerusalem Post
‘Boycott B&J’s in US, buy it here’
Ice cream lovers should buy Ben & Jerry’s in Israel, but boycott it everywhere else to protest the global company’s stance against the Jewish State, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Wednesday during a visit to the company’s Be’er Tuviya factory in southern Israel.
“We have to fight against Ben & Jerry’s in America,” Shaked said as she tried to explain the complex counterintuitive situation that has occurred now that the global Ben & Jerry’s company has decided to halt its ice cream sales to “the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
This is presumed to mean West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.
But the Israeli franchise headed by CEO Avi Zinger has no interest in halting such sales and has spent years attempting to prevent the company’s Independent Board of Directors from taking such a step.
Purchasing Ben & Jerry’s in Israel helps Zinger, explained Shaked who made a special solidarity trip to his factory.
“It is not the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s that should be boycotted,” Shaked said adding that “to the contrary; you need to buy Ben & Jerry’s in Israel.”
Zinger has owned his franchise for 35 years, but now he is in danger of losing his business because the global Ben & Jerry’s, which originated in Vermont and is now owned by the British-based Unilever, plans to end his contract by the end of 2022.
“We will do whatever it takes
to reverse the decision” during this next year-and-a-half, Shaked said.
Israeli is partnering in this effort with Jewish and Evangelical Christian organizations in the US and plans to work at the legal, consumer and diplomatic level, Shaked said.
“There laws against boycotts in the US and will ask to impose sanctions against Ben & Jerry’s in the US,” Shaked said.
The global Ben & Jerry’s “has chosen to lick terrorism and antisemitic organizations instead of being loyal to an Israeli franchisee who for many years has been an exemplary role model of what an Israeli manufacturer should be,” Shaked said.
President Isaac Herzog spoke out against the boycott Wednesday at a special memorial ceremony
for deceased presidents and prime ministers of Israel, traditionally hosted by the president in cooperation with the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The boycott against Israel is a new form of terrorism,” said Herzog. He explained that this was a form of “economic terrorism ... that seeks to harm Israeli citizens and the Israeli economy.”
Herzog added that he had no doubt that all the former presidents and prime ministers of Israel would react sharply against BDS in all its forms.
Israel’s Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan has already written letters to governors of 35 states asking them to take action against Ben & Jerry’s.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan also spoke out
against Ben & Jerry’s and wrote a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asking that he impose the state’s anti-boycott laws against the company.
The Australian Kashrut Authority (KA) announced on Wednesday via their Facebook page that they would be removing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from their list of kosher approved products, and said that while the brand would still be certified kosher under the US-based Kof-K certification, they themselves would be ending their long-standing decision to list the ice-cream in their kosher product list.
In their statement, the KA stated that the decision was made “in support of those who proudly reside in Yehuda ve Shomron (Judea & Samaria).”
Despite the KA’s reassurance that the American Kof-K certification would continue to certify the product, many US-based Jews are campaigning for this to change.
Nachman Mostofsky, executive director of Amariah, a religious Jewish organization that claims to promote “the communal values of traditional Torah-true Judaism,” tweeted a statement on Tuesday, saying that he had spoken to Kof-K, encouraging them to remove their certification from the product.
He encouraged others to do the same and said that he had not been the only person to phone them that morning.
A similar statement was shared on the Amariah Twitter account, in which they said that as well as Kof-K, “the [OU Kosher] and [cRc Kosher] and any other certification should refuse them as well.”
While some approved of this idea, others were less certain and questioned the choice of the KA, and the campaign against Kof-K, from a halachic point of view. As Kashrut refers only to how food must be prepared according to Jewish Law, the removal of a kashrut certificate due to political decisions could lead to misinformation.
Twitter user @AvrahamAdler replied to the Amariah announcement: “bottom line, people must know whether or not it is kosher. If [Ben & Jerry’s] change their formulation and stop being kosher, that’s a real problem. People can choose on their own to stop supporting B&J #Antisemitism, but not at expense of Halacha. Halacha transcends emotions.”